I am going to make a book for Cheryl Penn’s Encyclopaedia of Everything. If I understand correctly, this is essentially a small book/mail art collection. Well, the collection seems rather ambitious and not small at all, but the books that are in it are.
When I read about what she is looking for, I immediately thought that I should send her a copy of “absences”, a book that at that time only existed in my mind. I think I mentioned it before: I had the idea for this while making “pots”, the book inspired by a video interview with Edmund de Waal. “absences” is made with stencils, such that the images live in the negative space, are absent, so to say: I covered brown Kraft paper with gesso, but where the paper stencils lay, the brown paper is still visible.
Over the last weeks, more and more stencils accumulated on my worktable, and today I started to put it together. Above you see the prepared surface, next came the text:
There is a lot of room of improvement here. The text is essentially a dialogue, and I choose different writing for the two persons to make it easier to see who is speaking. This is not very convincing to me, though, and I am pondering using two slightly different colours or not distinguish the writing at all. Also the distribution of the text over the page could be much improved.
But I am not unhappy with how it turned out, on a grander scale, and I guess I will keep it as a first artist copy for now, and give it some covers.
My current setup for this book is not very smart: I will even have to redo the stencils for the next copy (paper was not a smart choice), and the writing is done by hand. The plan is to make more durable stencils from acetone this time. When I first thought of this book, I thought it would end up an edition. But other than making better stencils, I am not sure how I would want to improve the reproduction. And there is still a lot of handwork in there that make an edition look unreasonable. The fact that I am working with stencils, screams “screenprint!” to me, probably because I have been wanting to use screenprint for a while now. However, I am pretty sure that it won’t work with my auxiliary setup that I tried last year. (I thought, I had written a post showing the setup, but all I could find was this article which at least features an image of one of the results.) The problems I see are multitude but just to name one: I don’t know how to reproduce the text which is currently handwritten. I guess to reproduce the text via screenprinting, I would have to invest in more elaborate screenprinting equipment, and I completely lack the enthusiasm of setting up a darkroom in our small house.
I am curious: How do you put text in your books?